How Do I Know If My Contacts Are Saved On My Phone Or SIM Card?

While contacts were in the past saved to the SIM card, nowadays they are generally saved to the phone because of the ample storage space available on modern devices. 

If that’s your case, and if you lose your phone without having a backup, you won’t be able to get your contacts back on your new phone. How to check if your contacts are stored on the phone or on the SIM card?

On both Android and iOS, contacts are stored in phone storage or in the cloud by default. On Android, the “SIM card contact” indicator appears on contacts that are stored on the SIM. On the iPhone, go to Settings > Contacts > Default account to see where your contacts are stored online.

Both Android and iOS let you import your contacts from SIM. However, unlike Android, iOS does not allow your contacts to be exported to the SIM.

Note: depending on the device and version of Android or iOS you are using, the settings might look a little different in your case. It is not possible to cover all of the versions in one article. This article, however, will give you a good idea of the options available in the Contacts app so you can figure out how to do things.

How do I know where my contacts are saved on an Android phone?

New contacts can be saved on your phone storage or in your Google account in Android. Most devices will show all the contacts by default.

To only see the contacts that are either on your SIM, Phone Storage, or Cloud, go to your contact app’s Settings. Depending on the device your contact settings may vary.

Locate “Contacts to Display” (or “Configure contact lists”) and tap on it. By default “All contacts” will be selected. Choose Phone, SIM card, or Cloud accounts. Now your contact list will be showing only the contacts from the source that you chose.

If you can’t see the SIM option in “Contacts to Display” (or “Configure contact lists”), go to Contacts > Settings and enable the “Show SIM Contacts” option. 

See also: How Do I Get Rid Of Frequently Contacted On Android?

How do I know if my contacts are saved to my SIM on iPhone?

The contacts are generally saved to the cloud on the iPhone. You can view where they are saved by going into Settings > Contact > Default Account. [iOS 13]

If you want to view the contacts that are on your SIM card, you have to import them onto the device. To import SIM contacts, go to Settings > Contacts. You will see the option “Import SIM Contacts” at the bottom. Tap on it. Choose the location you want to save to.

Once the import completes, you can view the SIM contacts in your contact list after the import is finished. 

See also: How Many Contacts Do I Have On My iPhone?

How to check where contacts are stored on Samsung?

Go to Contacts > Settings > Contacts to Display. Here you can choose which contacts to display in your contact list. Choose one and the contacts that are saved on that source will be displayed.

Note: on some devices (e.g. Galaxy A series), in the default Contacts app, you need to open the app menu to see your current contacts storage location (e.g. Google).

How do I save my new contacts to SIM?

Android

You cannot save new contacts directly to your SIM on Android. You can, however, create a new contact and export it to your SIM card. 

To export a contact go to Contacts > Settings. Tap on “Import/Export contacts” then choose “Export to SIM”. Select the contacts you want to export and confirm.

Note: on some devices (e.g. Galaxy A series), in the default Contacts app, you need to open the app menu to see your current contacts storage location (e.g. Google). You can tap on the current location to see and select the SIM storage options.

iPhone

Unfortunately, you cannot save or export your contacts to SIM on iPhones. By default iPhone stores your contacts on iCloud. Go to Settings > Contact > Default Account to change it to other cloud options.

Why can’t I save contacts to my SIM?

On newer Android phones and iPhones, there is no option to save new contacts on your SIM. Android, however, allows you to export contacts to your SIM while iPhones don’t. See the previous section to learn how to export contacts to SIM on Android.

Nowadays, contacts are almost always saved on the cloud. This ensures that the contacts are never lost and transferring them is also super easy.

How to move a contact from SIM to phone?

Android

To move a contact from SIM to phone on Android, you have to import it. Go to Contacts > Settings > Import/Export Contacts. Then tap on “Import from SIM”. Choose the contacts to import and tap on Import.

iPhone

To import a contact in iPhone, go to Settings > Contacts > Import SIM Contacts. Choose the location to save if asked.

How to transfer contacts from the phone to SIM?

Android

To transfer contacts from the phone to SIM, you have to export the contacts to SIM. To export the contacts go to Contacts > Settings > Import/Export Contacts > Export to SIM. Select the contacts and tap on “OK” or “Export”.

iPhone

You cannot transfer contacts from the phone to SIM on an iPhone.

See also: Do Pictures Transfer With SIM Card?

Why are my contacts not showing?

If you have contacts but they are not showing suddenly, the contact settings might be wrong.

All contacts not showing on Android

Open the Contact app and go to Settings. Tap on “Contacts to Display” (or “Configure contact lists”). Then choose “All Contacts”.

Note: on some devices (e.g. Galaxy A series), in the default Contacts app, you need to open the app menu to see your current contacts storage location (e.g. Google). You can tap on the current location to select other locations, or create a custom one that includes multiple locations (e.g. SIM1, SIM2, Google contacts, phone).

All contacts not showing on iPhone

The contacts might not be synced with the cloud. Check what cloud you are using to store your contacts by going into Settings > Contacts > Default Account. If you’re using iCloud, go to Settings > iCloud > Contacts and turn on sync. 

SIM contacts not showing on Android

If only the SIM contacts are not showing up, go to Contacts > Settings > Contacts to Display and select All Contacts. If you still cannot see the SIM contacts go to Contacts > Settings and turn on “Show SIM Contacts”.

SIM contacts not showing on iPhone

You have to import your SIM contacts to view them. Go to Settings > Contacts > Import SIM Contacts and import them.

Where should I save my contacts?

Should I save contacts to phone or SIM?

It is better to save the contacts on your phone, as it is easier to maintain and the only limit on how many you can save is the storage space available on the phone. 

You should keep a backup when you are saving on your phone storage.

Is it worth saving contacts in Google account / iCloud?

The best option is to save your contacts in the cloud. You can save it to your Google/iCloud or any other cloud accounts (e.g. Samsung Cloud). 

Saving the contacts in the cloud means you’ll never lose them. You can also transfer the contacts anywhere in an instant from the cloud.

See also: Does Factory Reset Remove Google Account?

How to see the contacts of both SIMs on dual SIM phones?

To see all the contacts stored on both SIMs on an Android dual-SIM phone, go to Contacts > Settings > Contacts to Display > Custom list and then choose both of your SIM cards.

On an iPhone, import SIM contacts from both SIMs by going into Settings > Contacts > Import SIM Contacts. 

Why are my contacts showing on my spouse’s or mother’s phone?

This might happen when you logged into your Google/iCloud account while on your spouse’s or mother’s phone. To solve this, use a different account when using their phone, or log out of your cloud account when you’re done.

On iPhone, go to Settings > Passwords & Accounts and select your account, then turn off Contacts. Do the same on Android by going into Settings > Accounts & sync > Google.

If you’re using Android, go to Settings > Accounts & sync > Google. Then choose your account and turn off sync for Contacts.

See also: What Are Linked Contacts On My iPhone?